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Shenzen

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by mrjack, Dec 3, 2015.

  1. mrjack

    mrjack Occasional commenter

    HI All,
    I have seen a post in Shenzen, does anyone here have any information on the place ?
    I know it is not too far from Hong Kong. I'm not really a big city person, I like nature and the outdoors, does Shenzen have easy access to nature and the outdoors ? what kind of place is it for an expat ?
    Thanks in advance
     
  2. clovispoint

    clovispoint Occasional commenter

    I am no expert on China / Shenzen but do live in Hong Kong. This YouTube channel is all about living in Shenzen / China: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCl7mAGnY4jh4Ps8rhhh8XZg They should give you some idea of life as an expat.

    From my limited knowledge, Shenzen is very much a new city, highly modern and not really an nature buffs place. However, you can fairly easily roam out of the city and get to places that have nature,
     
  3. mrjack

    mrjack Occasional commenter

    Are you teaching in Hong Kong ? I have been trying for so long to get a break there, not had any luck !
     
  4. mikemcdonald25

    mikemcdonald25 Occasional commenter

    No doubt the Hippo will be in touch soon! While you wait clovispoint is quite right. Shenzen is a new (in 1979 - it was a one horse - sorry, bicycle - fishing village) city of 5 million people, close to another city of.....Oh what the hell, the whole conurbation is over 50 million people stretching from the HK border to Guangzhou and beyond. There are green spaces in between but they are getting smaller by the day.

    Having said that; as a city person myself, Shenzen is quite a nice city, with good shops, restaurants, taxis, Metro system, buses etc etc and as the Hippo will no doubt tell you; a much, much lower level of pollution than Shanghai or Beijing and of course it has the seaside!!!!

    Apologies for the way my jokes interfere with my grammar!

    PS: why bother with HK, one of the most expensive places in the world, when you can live in Shenzen and be in HK in 45 minutes by Metro. And just as an aside you will get a full Chinese (multiple entry visa) which you won't get in HK.
     
  5. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Hello. Did someone mention my name?

    People say, "Shenzhen isn't China!" (Where is it then? Sweden?) Actually Shenzhen is not really a typical Chinese city because it did not exist thirty or forty years ago. Also it is not full of pollution and the MTR is not crammed with commuters doing sardine impressions. It is clean and green and modern, so most things work (most of the time).

    Mrs Hippopotamus and I live in Futian, just round the corner from the huge and very silly building with the wavy roof and we are across from the park with the statue of Comrade Deng. The school's rental allowance pays for our smallish (but very central) two-bedroomed apartment. School is a twenty-five minute walk through the park. So yes, I do have a t-shirt with a big red heart and it says Wo ai SZ.

    The bad news is that salaries are significantly less than in Beijing and Shanghai. One school in Shekou (mostly full of Americans) pays pretty well, but the others are not good payers.

    45 minutes to the centre of HK? Well, maybe, if you live at the Futian Checkpoint, but for us it is at least an hour and a half.
     
  6. clovispoint

    clovispoint Occasional commenter

    I love living in HK. It is incredibly expensive and the high salaries for teachers are a fraction of what business expats earn. Teachers do okay but you spend a lot on just living here and, for the most part, there are not expat contracts available like in other countries. Rents are outrageous (but may be coming down- fingers crossed). Western food is expensive, double or triple costs in home countries but at least you can get it. One local supermarket is teamed up with Waitrose and there's mince pies in right now :) Lifestyles are better in other Asian countries and you can probably save as much as here. HK is good if you are into nature and the outdoors. It is crowded in places but there is a well maintained network of hiking trails that cross the whole of HK and it is possible to really get away from it all. Keep plugging away at the applications, I got here eventually.

    I would happily live in Shenzen. It seems to have real buzz about it with plenty to do. More for your money in housing, food and much else. Lots of travel opportunities in China. I should go there more- the visa thing is a pain from this side- a costly one for most nationals. Good luck with your applications.
     
  7. bigmo52

    bigmo52 New commenter

    Shenzhen is a very nice, clean modern city. I lived there 2 years ago. However there is not much English spoken, outside of the expat area, shekou. Night life is good though and the food is delicious. The metro is awesome and very easy to use. HK can be a nightmare to get to during public holidays and weekends, I once had to queue for 3 hours at immigration! Overall I enjoyed the experience, but be aware of some of the schools there.
     
  8. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Yes, there is not much American spoken outside of Shekou, aka "Little-Miami-by-the-South-China-Sea". Shekou is a bit of an "expat bubble", but maybe that is what some people want. However, I have met quite a few Americans who speak good Mandarin, plus several Russians who speak English AND Mandarin. Gasp! Fortunately, Mrs Hippo and I have some lovely Chinese friends who speak pretty good English.

    Here in the Futian district of Shenzhen, my Teaching Partner (that's what we are supposed to call the TAs) speaks very good English and she was great yesterday, helping me out with some complicated discussions with a Chinese airline re. compensation for missing baggage. My present school also employs two angels to help the expat staff, a total contrast to the appallingly less-than-useless HR staff one can have the misfortune to encounter in many so-called "international" schools in the Middle East.

    Yes, some schools in Shenzhen pay rather badly. HK schools do tend to pay a lot more, but then again life in HK is a lot more expensive. Roundabouts and swings, I suppose.
     
  9. mrjack

    mrjack Occasional commenter

    Thanks for the responses, with the lower wages and lower living costs, is it possible to save much money monthly in Shenzen ?
    Is there much accessible in the way of nature and scenery etc that I could enjoy in the evenings or weekends ?
     
  10. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    There are some great parks in Shenzhen. Mrs Hippo and I live opposite the biggest one, Lianhuacun. The parks do tend to get rather crowded at the weekends, it must be said. Yes, there are hills and countryside not far away, but you would need to travel a bit to get there. Some people say that Shenzhen has a population of 12 million and some say 16, so it is a fairly biggish place. Therefore getting from the centre of the city to the countryside is a bit time-consuming, I would say, but not as bad as getting from Central London
     
  11. bigmo52

    bigmo52 New commenter

    I never did when I was there, but my friend was always going hiking on weekends to the hills around Shenzhen.
    Also with regards to saving money, it depends on how you live. If you eat at western places, and shop at the western supermarkets, your money will not go far, but if you eat locally (bbq is awesome) then you can save quite a bit. I saved a decent amount while I was there!
     
  12. aussie_teacher_nt

    aussie_teacher_nt New commenter

    Shenzhen basically sprung up as an access point for stuff into HK. It's way cheaper and I thought was pretty cool. Good nightlife, good food, cheap shops. I only went in for a couple of days heading backpacking through China. Nature and China, yeah some of it's still left but a lot of it is a bit off the beaten path and can be difficult to get to without basic Mandarin. Personally I'd take Shenzhen over HK as it's already mainland so you can access all of China on the visa.
     
  13. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Recently Mrs Hippopotamus and I returned from a little holiday in Yangshuo and Guilin. Getting to Guilin on a fast train takes about three hours from Shenzhen and single ticket costs about 200RMB (about twenty pounds). The limestone karst scenery around Yangshuo was breathtakingly beautiful, with an "other world" quality. (In fact, the amazing scenery was used in one of the Star Wars movies.) Floating on a bamboo raft down the Yulong River was wonderful. There is a lot more to China than pollution and chopsticks.
     
  14. rouxx

    rouxx Lead commenter

    There is one problem with travel from China - your school holidays are often timed to coincide with the Chinese holidays (usually) and therefore there are just a few million other travellers at the same time. Hard to get away from the crowds, even when you go to the back of beyond. Also look up flight prices from anywhere in China over CNY and be prepared to have a heart attack, paying what you would normally pay to get to Europe!

    Shenzhen will be a lot cheaper than Hong Kong, Shanghai or Beijing to live in and there are some lovely places to visit in China - you will also have better access to SE Asia than from Beijing or Shanghai.

    I'd seriously consider it, particularly if on a reasonable international school package. I would guess saving opportunities would be significant.
     
  15. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Yes, the Chinese New Year (CNY) is a ginormous, lemming-like migration of millions of people. It really does not make sense to travel inside China during the CNY, but of course there are other places to visit, such as Thailand and the Philippines. We went to Yangshuo over the Christmas break and it was not too busy.
     
  16. rouxx

    rouxx Lead commenter

    Have you seen the cost of flights to Thailand and the Philippines!!!!

    You would need to sell your first born!
     
  17. rouxx

    rouxx Lead commenter

    I just checked actually they aren't as bad from Shenzhen - around 4-5 thousand RMB. I was getting prices at 5 to 7 thousand RMB over CNY for most of SE Asia. Still pricey though, considering you aren't flying as far if you are in Shenzhen.
     
  18. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Just over two hundred quid for a return ticket to the Philippines from HK during the CNY. That is quite reasonable, but you do have to book early.
     
  19. rouxx

    rouxx Lead commenter

    Two hundred quid at CNY!!!! I'm moving back down, Hippo - get the kettle on!
     
  20. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Our little holiday in Yangshuo and Guilin was also cheapie cheap. A single ticket for a three-hour train ride (and a fast one at that) was just over 200RMB from Shenzhen to Guilin. The hotel in Guilin was quite pleasant and reasonable at 100RMB for a double room. In Yangshuo we stayed at The Giggling Tree and that was about 220RMB for a double room. Hiring a bike was 40RMB for the day. I cannot remember the cost of the beer fish we had, but most of the meals were very reasonable. We had an excellent lunch in Guilin for just over 100RMB and that was for four of us.
     
    rouxx likes this.

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